The Transformation of Hester in The Scarlet Letter

The Transformation of Hester in The Scarlet Letter

Length: 943 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

The Transformation of Hester in The Scarlet Letter



        The Puritans came from England in the sixteen hundreds to break

free from the laws and regulations made by the king of England.  In the new

world, they were able to practice their own form of religion.  The Puritans

believed in God and His laws.  "A Young Puritan's Code" was "Being sensible,

that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him

by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions so far as they are

agreeable to his will, for Christ sake."  (Jonathan Edwards)  And they had

over fourteen resolutions to keep.  Although this is Jonathan Edwards

interpretation, it was most likely the way the Puritan lived.  And they

probably obeyed it out of fear for their life.  For sinners are in the

hands of a angry God.



        Many years later Nathaniel Hawthorn was greatly interested by the

Puritans.  This 19th-century American novelist, was born on July 4, in

Salem, Massachusetts, and died May 11, 1864.  He was the first American

writer to apply artistic judgment to Puritan society.  He was intrigued by

the psychological insight into the complexities of human motivations and

actions.  In The Scarlet Letter, he expressed one of the central legacies

of American Puritanism, using the plight of Hester Prynne and Arthur

Dimmesdale to illustrate the conflict between the desire to confess and the

necessity of self-concealment.  Hawthorne grew up with his two sisters and

their widowed mother, and an uncle saw to his education at Bowdoin College.

In 1852, Hawthorne wrote the campaign biography of Franklin Pierce, an old

college friend.  The best of Hawthorn's early fiction was gathered in

Twice-Told Tales, Mosses from an Old Manse, and The Snow-Image.  These

capture the complexity's of the New England Puritan heritage.  Hawthorne's

writing had a wide range of influence upon people, such as Melville who

dedicated the great classic Moby-Dick to him.  One of Hawthorne's most

famous novels is The Scarlet Letter.  One of his characters (Hester Prynne)

is changed throughout the novel.  Hester changes three different times,

from being a shamed woman to a capable women and then to a healer.



        Hester Prynne emerges from the prison, proud and beautiful wearing

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Transformation of Hester in The Scarlet Letter." 14 Aug 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on the Transformation of Hester in Scarlet Letter

- The Transformation of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne committed a crime so severe that it changed her life into coils of torment and defeat. In The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester is publicly recognized as an adulteress and expelled from society. Alongside the theme of isolation, the scarlet letter, or symbol of sin, is meant to shame Hester but instead transforms her from a woman of ordinary living into a stronger person. The purpose of the scarlet letter is not fulfilled according to the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Research Papers
683 words (2 pages)

"The Scarlet Letter" and Hester's Identity Essay

- First of all, the scarlet letter stands for Hester's sin. By forcing Hester to wear the letter A on her bosom, the Puritan community not only punishes this weak young woman for her adultery but labels her identity as an adulteress and immoral human being as well. "Thus the young and the pure would be taught to look at her, with the letter flaming on her chest", also "as the figure, the body and the reality of sin." And the day Hester began to wear the scarlet A on her bosom is the opening of her darkness....   [tags: American Literature]

Research Papers
784 words (2.2 pages)

Dimmesdale’s Metamorphosis in The Scarlet Letter Essay

- Dimmesdale’s Metamorphosis Life is unpredictable, and through trial and error humanity learns how to respond to conflicts and learns how to benefit from mistakes. Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a character who changes and gains knowledge from the trials he faces, but first he has to go through physical, spiritual, and emotional agony. In the midst of all the havoc, the young theologian is contaminated with evil but fortunately his character develops from fragile to powerful, and the transformation Dimmesdale undergoes contributes to the plot’s climax....   [tags: The Scarlet Letter]

Research Papers
825 words (2.4 pages)

Pearl's Life Without Shame in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay

- Pearl's Life Without Shame in The Scarlet Letter Neither Hester's love for Authur Dimmesdale nor her need for atonement of her sins were the primary reasons why Hester remained in Boston. However, Hester mainly lived out her punishment to set an example for Pearl of what she should not become. Hester Prynne's life had been a continuous series of disappointments and shame. Because she cared for her daughter, Pearl, Hester treated her punishment more as a means of teaching Pearl a respectable lifestyle than a means of confronting her vices....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Research Papers
1218 words (3.5 pages)

The Character of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter Essay

- The Character of Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne, a character within The Scarlet Letter, is a prime example of Hawthorne's common transformation of individuals within his books. These mutations involve the qualities and attributes of her physical appearance, feminine emotions, and reputation among the townspeople. Throughout the novel, the mentioned elements of Hester's character develop and change several times, providing the reader with better understanding of the influence that the scarlet letter and other characters have on her....   [tags: Papers Nathaniel Hawthorne ]

Research Papers
568 words (1.6 pages)

Transformation of Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale in Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Scarlet Letter:  The Transformation of Rev. Dimmesdale "Life is hard, but accepting that fact makes it easier." This common phrase clearly states a harsh fact that Rev. Dimmesdale, a character in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, had to face. In this story of deception and adultery set in the Puritan era, Hawthorne introduces Dimmesdale as a weak and cowardly man who refuses to take responsibility for his actions.  The Rev. Dimmesdale is a transitional character in that he is, at the beginning of the novel, outwardly good but inwardly deceitful and by the end of the novel he becomes both outwardly and inwardly truthful....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Research Papers
996 words (2.8 pages)

Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay

- One could say that Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is a tale of transformation. The main characters' personalities shift with their environment; the scarlet letter takes on a new light. Hawthorne's view of what is going on changes, as does our own. The book is dynamic in a sneaky sort of way. If the reader isn't careful, a character can be changed dramatically in two or three pages, and no one is the wiser as to how they got there. Pearl, Minister Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth are just a few of those characters....   [tags: Hawthorne Scarlet Letter]

Free Essays
1421 words (4.1 pages)

Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay

-      Nathaniel Hawthorne's bold novel, The Scarlet Letter, revolves around sin and punishment.  The main characters of the novel sharply contrast each other in the way they react to the sin that has been committed             Dimmesdale's instantaneous response to the sin is to lie.  He stands before Hester and the rest of the town and proceeds to give a moving speech about how it would be in her and the father's best interest for her to reveal the father's name (67).  Though he never actually says that he is not the other parent, he implies it by talking of the father in third person (67).  Such as, "If thou feelest it to be for thy soul's peace, and that thy earthly punishment will the...   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Research Papers
2100 words (6 pages)

The Power of Sin in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Essay

- The Power of Sin in The Scarlet Letter Sin is the main theme in the Scarlet Letter. All of the characters in the book were somehow affected by the main sin, which was adultery. The three main characters were the most widely affected, and their whole lives were molded by the way they dealt with the sin. The sin surrounds, encloses, and strangles them. There was no escaping from its harsh consequences. Hester Prynne's sin was as an adulteress, and the result of this was that she had to wear the scarlet letter "A." She feels that her sin has taken away everything she had, and given her one thing in return; her baby....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
858 words (2.5 pages)

Free Essay - The Poser of Guilt in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter

- The Poser of Guilt in The Scarlet Letter The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a book that goes far into the lives of the main characters. After establishing the main characters--Hester, Pearl, Dimmesdale, and Chillingworth--he shows how each decision they made affects all the others. Hester Prynne, Arthur Dimmesdale, and Roger Chillingworth all felt guilty at one point in the novel. Hester had "dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam, and a face which, besides being beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion, had the impressiveness belonging to a marked brow and deep black eyes" (50)....   [tags: Scarlet Letter essays]

Free Essays
651 words (1.9 pages)

Related Searches

an elaborately embroidered scarlet letter A on her chest and carrying a

three month old baby.  While she is standing on the scaffold she becomes

aware of the stern faces looking up at her. Hester painfully realizes her

present position of shame and punishment.  Society will not forgive her for

the adultery that she has committed because of the Puritan age in which

they live.  Most of the old women think she should have a worse punishment.

One of them even says "At the very least, they should have put the brand of

a hot iron on Hester Prynne's forehead" (50).  At this point in time,

society will not forgive Hester and she will not forgive herself.  Going

through all this shame and embarrassment, the feelings of torment and

ridicule begins to change Hester, although she does not notice it till

later, she is becoming a better person from all that is happening to her.



        Not only does Hester change mentally, but she also changes

physically. The warmth, charm and passion which she once possessed appears

to have been replaced by coldness, severity, and drabness.  She hides her

beautiful hair under a cap and has no more enthusiasm. Hester only

demonstrates warmth and charm around Pearl.  Society also begins to view

her differently.  Some people even feel as though she can see "right

through them" and know their sins.  They do not look at her as badly as

they did at first,  because she is changing.  "The letter was the symbol of

her calling.  Such helpfulness was found in her-so much power to do and

power to sympathize-that many people refused to interpret the scarlet "A";

by its original signification.  They said that it meant "Able"; so strong

was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength."  (139).  She is now beginning

to go through some of the most extensive changes of her life.  She is

filled with many different feelings of torment and self worthiness, even at

one point in time she considers suicide.  But all these feelings are making

her a stronger and more intelligent person.



        Hester learns from her sin, and she grows strong as a result of

accepting her punishment.  "The scarlet letter was her passport into

regions where other women dared not tread.  Shame, Despair, Solitude!

These had been her teachers-stern and wild ones-and they had made her

strong." (170).  A little more than half way through the novel, Hester has

changed into a women capable to help others and being respected by them.

Society has now forgiven her and some may even admire her.  Although she

wears the letter A long after she was able to take it off, she decides to

take it to her grave.  Hester might have worn that letter so long, to prove

that she has nothing to hide.  Hester has found the happiness that comes

from being at peace with oneself, with society, and with God.



        Throughout this novel Hester Prynne changes from a shameful scared

woman, to one that is able and not afraid of what the future has to hold.

Hester gained a wisdom through her suffering.  Now the village people come

to her for guidance with their sorrows and problems,  although Hester was

never a true Puritan.  But Hester always did try to live up to the Puritan




Return to